How to Scan Your Computer for Malware

July 20, 2017 / By: Information Technology Services
Image graphic of construction men cleaning a laptop computer.

It's impressive how FAST technology is these days. However, when your computer becomes infected with malware or viruses its performance and speed can be severely crippled.

Most individuals are familiar with the term virus, but malware is it's lesser known sibling. Malicious Software (Malware) is unwanted software that comes in many forms, including: browser extensions, applications, or files. Its source is most often from unsecure websites or emails. Malware is typically used to slow down computers, cause malfunctions, and even potentially steal information.

We've included tips below on how you can check your personal computers for malware to keep your software running smoothly. 

When should I do a malware scan?

There is no rule on how often you should do a virus or malware scan on your computer, but you should always run a scan when you're experiencing one of the following:

  • When your computer becomes unresponsive, or applications are slowing down.
  • When all your applications are functioning normally and suddenly begin malfunctioning.
  • When you experience unknown errors from your Operating System.
  • When you notice your web browser's homepage or search bars have changed from your selected settings.

Install the Right Scanning Software

We recommend MalwareBytes software for malware scans on your computer. It's free (yay!) and it is what we use at the Tech Desk. 

  1. Install MalwareBytes by visiting their website (https://www.malwarebytes.com/) and downloading their free virus scanner for PC, Mac, and/or mobile. 
  2. Run the download file to install the program.
  3. Agree to the terms of service.

Scan Your Computer

Once MalwareBytes is installed on your computer, you will need to do complete a scan of your computer.

  1. Open MalwareBytes and click Scan Now.
  2. Once complete, MalwareBytes will alert you if any malware was found on your computer system.
  3. Click on Remove Selected Items for any that appear.
  4. Restart your computer. 
  5. Make sure to remove any suspicious browser add-ons and reset your homepage if needed.  

 

Need more help? Bring your laptop to one of our walk-up desks for additional assistance in scanning your computer or if you need further troubleshooting. View our Hours and Locations

Learn about other safe computing practices from our ITS Security team at stthomas.edu/security